Village eyes two per cent tax increase for 2014

Linda Tynan (right), the Village of Nakusp
Linda Tynan (right), the Village of Nakusp's chief administrative officer, speaks to several residents at a financial open house held by the village in early February.
— image credit: Alex Cooper/Arrow Lakes News

The Village of Nakusp is looking to increase it's tax revenue by about $25,000 this year, in a mostly status-quo budget that went before council on Monday, Feb. 24.

The budget was given three readings by council meeting on Monday after two special budget meetings in the previous weeks. It still requires final adoption.

The five-year financial plan calls for the village to collect tax revenue of $913,414 in 2014 to fund the services and capital projects it seeks to provide, up from $888,248 in 2013.

The financial plan that was passed does not indicate what the actual tax increases will be — that will be determined at a future date once the final assessment role is received from BC Assessment.

However, With about $5,000 of tax revenue expected to be derived from new construction, it should mean about a two per cent tax increase for village residents and businesses. According to a staff report, the increase will amount to about $25 per year for the average Nakusp home.

"It's when we do the tax rate bylaw in a month or so we'll be able to give firm numbers on the rate per thousand on a house," said chief administrative officer Linda Tynan.

Added chief financial officer Rob Richards: "We don't exactly know it will be a two per cent tax increase. That's where it should be roughly barring any major changes to assessments."

Mayor Karen Hamling said the goal is to finish off current projects like the arena upgrades, fix the roofs on the Cedar Chalets and build the new village website.

"We're going to try to hold the status quo, look at the hot springs and what we can do there and try to keep the services and everything at status quo," she said prior to the meeting.

The village will also implement curbside recycling this year through a new program funded by an industry stewardship group called Multi-Material BC.

The village is expected to run a $70,322 deficit this year, but that will turn into a large $365,688 surplus in 2015, mainly a result of an expected increase in transfers from the Build Canada Fund. Smaller surpluses are expected throughout the remainder of the financial plan.

The five-year financial plan looks to increase tax revenue by about $20,000 per year every year until 2018, when it will reach $1,000,000.

The budget doesn't call for any new borrowing, though borrowing that was approved last year for arena upgrades and to repair the roofs of the Cedar Chalets will carry forward to this year.

Some items that were funded are:

— $30,000 for a new village web site;

— $10,000 to paint new lines on the airport runway;

— $8,000 for municipal elections;

— $7,500 to level out the cemetery;

— $5,400 for new fire uniforms, about half of which will be covered by the regional district;

— $2,500 to fix up the squash court in the arena;

— The Chamber of Commerce will receive an extra $2,500 to help run the visitor centre, bringing the total funding it receives to $12,500 per year.

"These are being funded mainly through an appropriated surplus," said Tynan. "It's bringing them forward from previous years."

Council was given a breakdown of where the village's spending goes. 58 per cent goes to labour and benefits, 10 per cent for material and supplies, 12 per cent for contracted services and consulting, and the rest for various other items.

Property taxes only make up for 17 per cent of the villages revenue. A third comes from user fees and other charges, nine per cent from grants, 21 per cent is collection that goes to other levels of government and the rest is from other sources.

The vast majority of the village's taxes come from home owners, who pay 71 per cent. A quarter coming from businesses and the rest from light industry and other properties.

Council passed the budgets for water and sewer in January. The former is going up by two per cent and the latter by five per cent. With new water and sewer treatment plants in place, the village is working on a long-term plan for both utilities that it hopes to present to council this summer. They are still figuring out the costs of running the new facilities.

Another project staff is working on is integrating the public works and parks & arena departments.

The village is working on building up its reserves. "They aren't where they need to be for emergencies or other capital projects," said Richards.

The good news for residents, both in Nakusp and the surrounding area, is that the regional district's portion of the tax bill is expected to remain the same or even go down.

At a public hearing last week, Hamling and Arrow Lakes director Paul Peterson discussed the Regional District of Central Kootenay budget. District expenses are expected to decline, even with increases in spending on the arena and a few other small items.

The RDCK budget still needs to go before the full board before it is approved.


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